Encore

Hot Rod and True Britt

Rod Stewart's gal -- In 1975, the singer and starlet Britt Ekland played passionate music together

She was the blond Swedish starlet better known for the men in her life — Warren Beatty, Ryan O'Neal, Peter Sellers — than for 22 mostly forgettable films. He was the randy rocker of ''Maggie May'' fame who preferred blonds. Soon after Britt Ekland, then 32, met Rod Stewart, 30, at an L.A. party on March 5, 1975, they were, by her account, making love up to four times a day. ''Rod regarded every orgasm as a testimony of his love for me,'' swooned Ekland in her 1980 autobiography, True Britt.

Playing the role of rock mistress to the hilt, Britt accompanied her gravel-voiced wild man on hotel-trashing tours, fending off hordes of groupies. He wore her panties on stage (giving his famous bum a seamless desirability) and she whispered French nothings on his 1976 hit, ''Tonight's the Night.''

But roving Rod put an end to it all 2.5 years later when he replaced Ekland with another blond, model Liz Treadwell — not long after recording the Britt-inspired ''You're in My Heart.'' After suing Rod for palimony (and settling out of court), Ekland restored herself with a series of affairs with younger men before settling down, at age 41, with Stray Cats drummer Jim McDonnell (a.k.a. Slim Jim Phantom), then 23, in 1984. They are now divorcing. At 50, Ekland hosts an Oprah-style talk show in Sweden and has a fitness video, Britt Fit, set for U.S. release this spring.

The post-Britt Rod continued his blond streak (while gradually going blond himself): Alana Hamilton, whom he married, fathered two children with, and divorced; model Kelly Emberg, with whom he had a daughter, Ruby; and model Rachel Hunter, 23, his current wife and mother of daughter Renee. At 48, Stewart maintains his popularity, with a new album due this spring. The only kink may be a tell-all book in the works by a former housekeeper.

And of the great love that rivaled Liz and Dick's? Let Britt have the last word, from her memoir: ''I was more frenetically in love with Rod Stewart than with any other man, past or present. Our relationship was a fantasy from the beginning, like a comet in the sky, but one which I never thought would burn to earth.''


Time Capsule: March 5, 1975
Filmgoers were awash in Shampoo; readers got lost in The Bermuda Triangle, by Charles Berlitz; the Eagles' ''Best of My Love'' was best on the charts; and Archie Bunker harangued Edith on TV's All in the Family.

Originally posted Mar 05, 1993 Published in issue #160 Mar 05, 1993 Order article reprints